Department of youth: Crime task force will become permanent part of police operations

A task force that oversees Queensland police responses to youth crime and leadership of reforms will be made a permanent operation.

Apr 23, 2024, updated Apr 23, 2024
File image of a young person being taken into custody by police. (ABC image)

File image of a young person being taken into custody by police. (ABC image)


The state government will also expand co-responder teams consisting of police and youth justice staff to two new locations.

It comes amid growing calls from advocacy groups for the government to present stronger initiatives to tackle ongoing youth crime amid a 5.2 per cent increase in juvenile offenders numbers from 2021/22 to 2022/23.

Tactical operations, including Task Force Guardian – a dedicated deployed flying squad of detectives to targeted areas – have been part of initiatives by the state government and Queensland police.

Premier Steven Miles said youth offending had fallen more than 10 per cent since the task force was established.

“High-visibility and flying squad operations are overseen by the task force, which are proving to prevent, intervene and deter crime,” he said.

The government will also commit $13.55 million to expand a youth co-responders initiative that partners police and youth justice staff with at-risk youth and young people on bail.

The teams operate in 13 regions from Cairns to the Gold Coast and will be expanded to Goondiwindi and the Sunshine Coast.

The government on Monday announced more than $15 million to deliver financial assistance to victims of crime after a crime report showed increases in juvenile offenders in the 2022/23 year.

There were 11,191 unique child offenders in 2022/23 report.

Unique offenders are offenders counted only once in statistics regardless of the number of offences they have committed or the number of times they have been dealt with by police.

Property offences, especially unlawful entry, unlawful use of a motor vehicle and other theft were most common among very young offenders, the report says.

The government last week dissolved a youth justice select committee after bipartisan support disintegrated.

Trudy Reading from advocacy group Voice for Victims said the decision was upsetting after affected people spoke at public hearings.

“It took a lot of courage for them to come and speak about the trauma that they’ve gone through and now just to see this thrown around as a political football is deeply disappointing,” she told AAP.

She said the group would continue to push for detention as a last resort to be removed from the state’s Youth Justice Act due to repeat offenders cycling through the system.

“The proposals that we’ve put forward to the government over the last eight months have been for rehabilitation programs,” she said.

“But you can’t force all juveniles to go into these rehabilitation programs unless you remove detention as a last resort.

“Because at the moment they’re being spat back out again after a few months in detention.”

The advocacy group will again march on state parliament on April 30.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said youth offending was worsening, with the crime report suggesting juveniles were responsible for 55 per cent of break-ins and stolen car offences.

“These stats prove we’re not dealing with a crime wave in Queensland, it’s become a full-blown crime tsunami on Labor’s watch,” he said.

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